At his dog camp across the river, Brent Sass was walking around in rubber sandals, Crocs.
It was minus 17 degrees Celsius.
It’s balmy, said the upbeat Fairbanks musher.
He wasn’t wearing a coat and his shirt was unzipped revealing his bare neck.
“It’s good healing weather for the dogs,” he said.
After feeding and bedding down their dogs, most mushers head into Dawson to shower and sleep in hotel rooms.
But Sass crashed with his dogs.
“Being down here most of the day is good for the team’s moral,” he said.
“They like to hear my voice.”
Well rested after a night in the tent, Sass was sorting through his gear.
“I only have nine dogs left, so I have to go extremely light,” he said.
But those nine dogs are doing well.
Sass did the run from Eagle to Dawson with only one rest.
“But I slept in,” he said.
“I woke up when I wanted to be leaving.”
But Sass didn’t panic.
“The less frantic and stressed out I am, the less stressed out the dogs are,” he said.
“Because they can read me like a book.”
After their long rest, Sass ran his team all the way to Dawson.
“We ran 95 miles, and the dogs were getting faster as they ran,” he said.
“We can in here like a sprint team.
“It proves that if you have long rests, you can do long runs.”
Sass, who came into Eagle third, was glad he was still holding the position in Dawson.
“I’m still racing to win this thing,” he said. “But I’m running my own race, so we’ll see where we end up.”
On his way out of Dawson on Saturday afternoon, Sass’ team was taking a little while to warm up. And his lead dog, Silver was nursing a sore wrist.
Sass was spotted running up King Solomon’s Dome with his team and cruised right past Scroggie Creek dog drop early Sunday morning.
Since then, no one has seen him.
Michelle Phillips and Dave Dalton, who left Dawson less than an hour after Sass got into Scroggie more than five hours after Sass passed through.
This means, Sass probably ran the 159 kilometres from Dawson to Scroggie in one shot, while they did it in two.
It’s another 113 kilometres to Stepping Stone, where Phillips and Dalton stopped to rest just after 2 a.m. Monday. They are expected to be on their way just after 10 a.m.
Phillips and Dalton passed Sass between Scroggie and Stepping Stone walking in front of his team, said Pelly manager David Bennett, after getting a call from Stepping Stone via Fairbanks just before 10 a.m. Monday.
Contact Genesee Keevil at firstname.lastname@example.org